DR650 3rd gear blowups

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by NordieBoy, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    Got a link? Given I've had to strengthen my 640 subframe I'm probably in the firing line for main frame issues also if they exist. I'd like to know where the weak point is so I can keep an eye on it. PM me if you like, no need to clutter this thread with KTM problems.

    I'd recommend the DR650 as an adv bike to a lot of people but given I personally know several people that have had gearbox blowups & one who has broken a frame I wouldn't call the rates of these failures irrelevant.

    Cheers
    Clint
  2. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Hey Clintz,
    I did a quick search and found a few KTM frame issues ... but NONE on 640 series. But I do remember a RR on Horizon's Unlimited some years ago, guy on an Africa trip, IIRC, cracked a frame on a 640 (but could have been a sub frame?) Hard to find link, long time ago.

    Here are a couple interesting links listing 640 data:
    http://micapeak.com/reg/bikes/LC4/

    http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/ktm-tech/ktm-640-adv-problems-list-9345
    the above link starts in about 2004 ... goes forward from there.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=628511
    Gunnerbuck and Clintz star in the above thread ... should put the fear of God (and special factory KTM tools!) to anyone considering a KTM
    Can you imagine the rebuild costs if one were paying mechanic shop rates?

    The pics I found (in 5 minutes) were mostly race bikes ... but I guess ALL KTM's are race bikes? :D

    But I'm sure 640's are tougher and I'm sure you could find broken Suzuki race bikes too ... but you won't find many DR650's ... and THAT is my point. Your numbers and experiences are tiny representations of ALL DR650's out in the world.
    That said, I could claim that since I know DOZENS of KTM riders and have witnessed many KTM failures IN PERSON (and even towed one out of the woods )... that KTM's failures are "not irrelevant" and one should NEVER consider a KTM because of that. Can you see where I'm going with this ... and do you see how weak your argument is?

    And in the case of the DR ... given the HUGE numbers of units out in the world, especially irrelevant since failure rates on ANY part of the bike ... is probably a fraction of 1%.
    A few pics of someone's bad day!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    This last one has been reposted here on ADV a 100 times.
    Overall, looks like a lot of steering stem failures in the pics above.
  3. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    Nope, no MC shops within 150Miles so people bring their stuff to me, I just fix whatever comes in, usually it'll be chain saws, mowers, weed whackers, generators, firearms or motorcycles, been doing it for years and am kind of tired of it... The last couple years I've been telling them to go elsewhere as I need my spare time for riding...

    About 10 Yrs ago I was shopping for a DR but ended up getting a good deal on a KLR so I went that way... Now that I own a 640 {actually 2} I don't think I would consider a DR/KLR anymore, unless they came out with a modern updated version... By updated I don't mean the street platforms that manufactures seem to be focused on with their Adventure bike labels...

    [​IMG]
    The 640 uses the same triple components as these bikes and it probably would not be hard to recreate a break like this with my bike... All I would have to do is grossly over torque the steering stem clamping bolt and then go do some high speed passes over choppy ground...
  4. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    Fixed it for ya'

    I would think that the members of this community push their bikes harder than most... and thus it is likely we have a higher percentage of failures relative to the total number of DR650s ridden by members here. I only count those who, you know, USE the DR offroad. If its considered "beyond design parameters and thus your fault" if the DR650 blows third when you are out on some two-track, well.. thats pretty lame. Pretty cheap on Suzuki's part too.

    The Aussies blow up their bikes more often because they ride them harder. Like im going to be trying to do... Frankly, ill worry about what I wish to worry about- a design flaw that in some bikes, supposedly a fraction of one percent as stated by the DR fanboys but debated by some of us, causes a catastrophic failure that essentially renders the bike a complete loss.

    I understand to many of you, it really doesnt matter. Ok, it blew up- buy another one and transfer farkles.. done. Well, some of us are poor and cant afford that. $3400 is a lot of money to me (and what I paid for the DR). If it blows, im fucked. Its pretty much that simple. I certainly wouldnt use the remaining trip money to buy another DR- thats for damn sure. Id switch to the orange or blue koolaid before drinking more of the gear-exploding kind..
  5. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    ...

    What did he do, run it in a circle on a smooth dirt patch? Apparently anything more and its "not made for that." Might want to switch to straight water instead of koolaid..
  6. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

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    DR650's got 2nd overall in the 1996 and 3rd overall in the 1997 Australian Safari.
  7. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    How many total kilometers/miles were on the bikes? Did those bikes have all the same components as the current DR650? If the bikes run in the Safari didn't blow, does that somehow prove the DR650 only blows less than 1% of gearboxes?

    Did they rebuild the transmission afterwards? :lol3
  8. warewolf

    warewolf Tyre critic

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    Umm, none of those bikes are LC4s.

    Not even close.
  9. tHEtREV

    tHEtREV Captain Awesome

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    :lol3

    Suspicious? You base your whole opinion of Euro bikes on crap you read about or heard about KTMs in the 80's and early 90s.:rofl

    But please carry on, I just love reading the crap you come up with sometimes.:lol3
  10. warewolf

    warewolf Tyre critic

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    Except for the over-torquing, I've done that a lot with my 640 Adventure and it's still going strong. In the last few years it's probably spent more time being hammered on technical trail rides and cross-country races than on road/adventure rides. I've even had a crack at enduro-cross on it. If anyone's gonna break an LC4 frame, it'll be me!! :lol3
  11. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    You need to check out some of the videos posted by our NZ and Oz brothers ... and ask Nordie boy about the sort or trails they ride down there. From what I've seen, a lot tougher than AK. Also, some guys down under are racing DR's, running moto cross races on them.

    Alaska is a cakewalk by comparison to anything these guys are doing. AK is ALL roads ... mostly paved now, with some graded gravel roads. My buddy rode it on his Gold Wing 2 years ago ... with his wife on the back. No trails unless you get way off the beaten path. I rode AK in the 80's on a R80GS. Roads were worse back then ... I had no problems at all except for a few stretches of mud. On tour you won't be doing any hard riding. You'll be too loaded up for that.
  12. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    reading comprehension? I clearly stated NO LC4's.
    Read my posts mate.

    Good to hear. After reading some of the LC4 threads (see links in post 966) listing LC4 problems and a few build threads. Way too much to deal with. You guys are clearly all
    professional mechanics ... and more power to ya! Not all of us have Milling machines, Lathes, and Tig Welder in our shed ... nor are we able to buy $$$$ in special tools.
    Great to see the loyalty and enthusiasm towards the LC4's. But I left all that behind in the 70's when I sold off my old Triumph Desert sleds and flat tracker bikes and bought a reliable Jap bike.
  13. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

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    This is NZ.

    We have our own hammers and hacksaws but share the vice and stick welder.





    My lathe is a Unimat IV...
    Not the fastest or best thing in the world...
    Bit like a DR really :cool:
  14. tHEtREV

    tHEtREV Captain Awesome

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    You sure about that?

    I know a DR came 3rd one year, but I thought that was the only time one was at the pointy end of the field (I'm running from memory here, it was a VSM preped DR).
  15. tHEtREV

    tHEtREV Captain Awesome

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    Not so much LC4 loyalty, more people sick of you spreading lies and misconceptions about non Jap bikes.

    There are a hell of a lot of KTM owners who have never had a problem with them, and most if not all have had there share of jap bikes before going Euro.

    How many KTMs or Huskys have you owned?:ear

    The DR is a good bike for the price, but it does have problems just like every other bike, your failure admit that,and your little story's that you like to make up prove your ignorance and nothing else.

    Now back to the third gear failures...
  16. DRjoe

    DRjoe Long timer

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    One of them safari dr's also broke its frame near the swing arm pivot.

    These dr650's really are heaps of shit
  17. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    I leave in 1.5 months. I first go to Moab where I will mess around on trails out there. For anything serious, I will be dropping my load somewhere. Then Alaska around middle of June. Then back into CONUS down the CDT into Colorado where I will drop my load and go exploring for a few weeks. Then through the plains into northern Wisconsin/Michigan into Canada again, and then down new england during fall on my way back to Pensacola. I may not make it that far- I dont like to chain myself with plans and deadlines, but we'll see. So, this trip of mine isnt just "cakewalk" Alaska. I ride my DR like a 50/50 dual sport- this is a problem that legitimately worries me due to how the Aussies like to break DRs doing the same thing. I get the impression that DRs dont have more gearbox issues due to the fact that half or more of them see commuter duty and maybe some dirt roads from time to time- I ride it on trails and two-track. Not much singletrack where I am, but im young and in good shape so its going to have to do that too.

    I just dont get all the vitriol directed towards the critics of the DRs flaws. The fact is, the DR650 seems to me the BEST dual sport bike that can handle both road and dirt (if youre in good shape or have skills) and still use cheap gas. I think the WR250R is the best overall, but I wouldnt want to use one in South America where im getting fuel out of bags. The DR would be a PERFECT bike for me were Suzuki to just, I dont know, fix the damn gearbox- they certainly had no problems raising the price this year. But the gearbox? Nah, let em blow.

    To the people suggesting I watch out for cars and animals and all that, yeah, I know. Ive been reading as much as I can about areas where different animals are, their behaviors, etc. And even then, I may very well hit an animal or get taken out by a cage. In my opinion, that is a red herring- of course we all need to be careful of animals and cages, but that doesnt change the reality of the DRs gearbox issues.
  18. NordieBoy

    NordieBoy Armature speller

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    VSM prepped 5 for 96-97 and all finished in the top 10.
    According to the VSM home page, down the bottom.
  19. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    Don't forget your on your 3RD DR 650, what happened to your second? I know that your first one had a catastrophic failure... In my books that represents a 33 1/3 % failure rate with your reliable Jap bikes...

    It is great you have brand loyalty and find DR 650 to be the Holy Grail, obviously the bike suits your riding style... I gather that you are not mechanical minded as you stated that you sold your blown up DR with out even checking the reason behind it's engine meltdown...

    The difference between us is if that had happened to me I would of likely torn that engine apart and rebuilt it, because yes, I have tools and am mechanical minded... One of the best things a traveler could do in prep for years of travel is to tear their engine completely apart and rebuild it from scratch... This takes the mystery out of the inner workings and will provide you with the in depth knowledge to be able to tackle any problem that arises.. Of coarse if you own a DR this would be a waste of time because they never break due to their Japanese origin, unless you buy one in Australia which has been assembled with Chinese and North Korean parts...
  20. tHEtREV

    tHEtREV Captain Awesome

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    I only knew of the one that came third, but as I said, I was going by memory.